On 28th November 2022, as part of the multi-faceted program of the International Fortnight to Resist Violence against Women, based on the theme- ‘Stop the torture towards women and girls and build a new society’, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) organized a national convention at Engineers’ Institution Milanayatan, Ramna, Dhaka with the objective of determining actions and mobilize social force to prevent violence and social injustice against women and girls.
This convention was presided over by Barrister M. Amir-Ul Islam, the Chairperson of the National Committee to resist Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) and social anomy. Dr. Fauzia Moslem, Convener of the National Committee to resist VAWG and social anomy and President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) moderated the Convention. It started with a dance performance by Labha Biswas Nandini and Paridhi Majumder.
In the National Convention, more than 600 persons including the members of the National Committee to resist VAWG and social anomy, members of the central committee of BMP, the leaders of 42 district branches of BMP, and representatives of the District Committees to resist VAWG and social anomy, member organizations of the Social Action Committee, representatives of civil society, college-university students, representatives of cultural organizations, senior journalists of print and electronic media and officials of organizations were present.
On behalf of the National Committee to resist VAWG and Social Anomy Barrister A.K. Rashedul Haque, a member of the National Committee and lawyer of the Supreme Court, presented a written paper on ‘the current situation, and the scenario of vilolence against women and girls and social injustice’. Maleka Banu, member of the National Committee to resis VAWG and social anomy and general secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad presented the declaration at the convention. Abul Momen, a member of the National Committee, eminent writer, and journalist, presented speech on ‘mindset of the society and women’s human rights.’ Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, renowned economist and distinguished fellow of CPD presented speech on ‘human rights of women and girls and the Uniform Family Code (UFC).’ Dr. Kaberi Gayen, Professor of the Mass Communication and Journalism Department of Dhaka University presented speech on ‘violence against women and girls and the cyber world.’ Taslima Yasmin, Associate Professor of the Department of Law of Dhaka University presented speech on ‘rape, gang rape, and mass rape in public space is a social disease at the present time.’
Honorable members of the National Committee to resist VAWG and social anomy ,civil society dignitaries were present at the National Convention. Mofidul Haque, author, researcher, and trustee of the Liberation War Museum, Adv. S.M.A. Sobur, a senior advocate of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, Mukul Chowdhury, general secretary of Moni Shingho-Farhad Trust, Mahbub Jaman, freedom fighter And IT specialist, Chhobi Biswas, former MP, Adv. Abdun Nur Dulal, general secretary of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, Basudeb Dhor, journalist, Adv. Md. Aminul Islam, a Lawyer, Dr. Shamsuddin Ahmed, doctor, Professor, Dr. Shahida Chaudhury, a psychiatrist, Dr. Mekhla Sarkar, Nasimun Ara Haque, secretary of the Center of Women Journalists, Professor Dr. Chandranath Poddar, general secretary of Bangladesh Puja Celebration Council, Professor Dr. Tania Haque, a teacher, and Dr. Masum Billah were present at the National Convention.
Dr. Makhduma Nargis, vice president of the central committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Rekha Chaudhury, Anjuman Ara Aksir, Lakshmi Chatterji, Shima Moslem, joint general secretary, Adv. Masuda Rehana Begum, Dil Afroz Begum, Finance Secretary, Umme Salma Begum, organization secretary, Rekha Saha, secretary of legal aid, Rabeya Khatun shanti, secretary of the movement; Rina Ahmed, secretary of training, research and library, Saraban Tahura, secretary of publication, Dipa Islam, secretary of health, Khurshida Imam, secretary of education and culture, Nasrin Mansur, secretary of Rokeya Sadan, Parvin Islam, secretary of the environment, Homayra Khatun, secretary of social welfare and other leaders of BMP were also present at the National Convention.
Barrister M. Amirul Islam, Chairperson of the National Committee to resist VAWG and social anomy, said in the speech of the Chairperson that women are working collectively for the society. They should be freed from discrimination. However, work must be done on how to inculcate values through the education curriculum, educational institution and family to build a nation. There is no alternative of strengthen the roots, family, society, to prevent VAWG of Bangladesh.
Fauzia Moslem, convener of the National Committee to resist VAWG and social anomy and President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) said in the speech of moderator that violence is different in the context of different countries. The structure of unequal power between men and women is the root of violence against women and girls.
In this discussion, Abul Momen, said in the discussion on “mindset of the society and women’s human rights” that the number of women in power is increasing day by day, which is an example of the empowerment of women. On the contrary, incidence of violence against women is too high. Now the social image of violence against women is the image of a society that hates women. There are social and cultural factors of violence toward women around us. He emphasized on everyone to work for social change to overcome this situation.
Taslima Yasmin, associate professor of the Law department of Dhaka University, said in her discussion on “rape, gang rape and rape in public places is disease at present time creating a non-discriminatory and non-patriarchal social structure is important in building a new society. The current women-friendly laws still have a patriarchal strong mindset. Regarding the prevailing law in the case of rape, she said that it is not possible to properly prosecute rape without changing the legal framework. She gave her opinion on determining monitoring mechanism and increasing financial allocation.
Professor Dr. Kaberi Gayen ( Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Dhaka) said regarding violence against women and the cyber world that even in cyberspace, all kinds of violence against women are now taking place. It is reported in different newspaper that in 10 women is a victim of cybercrime. Many women still do not understand cyber harassment. She emphasized on law enforcement to prevent cybercrime.
Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, eminent economist and distinguished fellow of CPD said regarding the human rights of women and girls and the Uniform Family Code (UFC) that commonly it is said that, violence is more due to discrimination between women and men. On the contrary, the continuation of violence leads to more discrimination. During Covid, child marriage has increased, and 10-20% of students have dropped from education. As the economic crisis increases, the violence against women increases. Inequality will increase if women’s participation in new development partnerships is not increased. Gender inequality and violence against women is closely linked with unequal personal laws related with marriage, divorce, guardianship, inheritance and child adoption. He highlighted the recommendations raised in the convention and called for the adoption and implementation of the future action plan in light of it.
Among others, speeches were also given by representatives of the National Committee to resist VAWG and social anomy in different districts including Mofidul Haque, author, researcher, and trustee of the Liberation War Museum, Adv. S.M.A. Sobur, a senior advocate of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, and Dr. Masum Billah, teacher of Dhaka University.